I took my time, but I didn't want to rush things too much: reviewing OSes takes some time & it's quite easy to state a premature opinion that may not reflect the reality. Anyway, I'M READY to share with you my opinion on two latest Google's OSes:

  • Android 5.0 (Lollipop) - phone version
  • Android Wear

I've used them both altogether on paired devices, so this review will cover this integration & synergy between devices as well. Let's rumble.

Toys

Google Nexus 5 & Motorola Moto 360.

I have N5 for almost a year & it's clearly the best phone I have ever had (I had some top notch ones, so clearly I have a basis for comparison) - so far it was running under Kitkat (Android 4.4.4) & it was rock solid: ultra fast, ultra stable, zero issues.

M360 is a new toy in a box. Previously I've used Pebble, but it has disappointed me a bit - its technical limitations have practically prevented people from creating any reasonable applications. So in the end it was just a e-ink gadget with customizable watchfaces (and surprisingly good battery life). Smartwatch time it is, then.

4.0 -> 5.0

Phone upgrade went surprisingly well, keeping in mind that it was the first wave of rollouts that went straight to Nexus devices (because they don't have branded versions of OS). I haven't seen any data loss, all applications work as they did before, no settings have been erased / broken (including Google applications, tightly bound to OS itself). Big PLUS.

After the upgrade is complete, the first thing to strike you is ...

Material Design

Material Design everywhere.

New Google's way of design is BEAUTIFUL. It's a matter of personal taste, but personally I love it. Minimalistic, clean, very reactive & fluent - I'd even say "intuitive". Google has gradually updated all of their apps to the new look & I have no complains about that: they all look better & more user-friendly. Actually, some people don't like the new Inbox, but it's a new application anyway & some kind of experiment also - Android doesn't force you to use it.

Old applications of 3rd party vendors are not affected in a visible way. Their creators will have to put some effort to adapt them to MD.

Bugz

Yes, there are some. In the first few days after the upgrade I had a returning problem of main screen refresh / reload - sometimes quick bar was missing (annoying) & sometimes (once or twice) I had a lag after switching to main screen (it was blank for a second or so). But it seems that they've managed to fix it really quickly, because none of these happens anymore.

What still happens (& it's a bit painful TBH) is Chrome crashing ;/ They've released a new version few days ago & problems seems to happen less often, but it's still present. It's not the only problem with Chrome - it's capable of displaying very complex pages in a very efficient way, with smooth scaling & scrolling, BUT sometimes presence of external plugins (just default Flash, I didn't install anything on my own) is literally almost freezing it. Same pages work perfect on Chrome on PC.

New recent app carousel is awesome - good looking & very convenient, but it seems that it's not compatible with some older, 3rd party apps: when I click a screenshot (to wake app up), I get messages like "The application is not running." or something like that.

Overall performance (it's not the latest phone model) is still great, but hiccups happen - they didn't on KitKat.

What's cool?

  1. I loved the smooth roll-out approach - applications were updated gradually: day-by-day. And everything was rock-solid of the time. That is really, really impressive.

  2. New, refurbished apps (Calendar, Play, One, Mail) are even better that they were.

  3. Recent app carousel that contains Chrome tabs as separate entries is an absolute killer :)

  4. Notifications got some nice improvements & adding them to the lock screen (with an option of hiding the personal details while on lock screen) is absolutely awesome.

  5. I know that there's multi-account feature, but I haven't use it before, so can't say much about that.

What sucks?

  1. App carousel grows indefinitely? WTH Google?

  2. There an awesome tiny feature I loved - when I turned the volume down to zero, next click on "volume down" button was disabling the vibration as well. Unfortunately this feature has been removed. Why?!

  3. Occassional animation hiccups are worrisome. Are bnightmares of previous versions of Android coming back?

  4. I've expected shitloads of new widgets. Didn't get any ;/ Are we experiencing the fall of widgets as we knew them?

  5. Auto-switching to LTE when WiFi goes bananas is not nearly as smooth as I'd like it to be.

End of part I. Part II can be found here.